FCC gives go ahead for Google's sensor tech

Sian Bradley's picture
by Sian Bradley
Google's Soli technology

Google has won the right to keep developing its hand sensor tech.

Google's Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) team have been working on ‘Project Soli’,since 2015. The work came under threat as numerous companies - including Facebook - argued that the high frequency levels of radiation in the tech could interfere with existing technology.

However, the FCC have now ruled that Soli poses "minimal potential of causing harmful interference," and it's even been cleared for use on aircraft.

This means that Google can keep ploughing forward with the project as they intended, with the FCC granting them permission to operate at higher levels than currently allowed.


Soli technology in a chip

Soli is developing a sensoring technology to use for touchless interactions. It uses radar beams to detect and track the motion of a human hand, which allows users to interact with interfaces using gestures. 

The team are also working on creating a gesture language that will allow people to control devices with a universal set of movements.

“We envision a future in which the human hand becomes a universal input device for interacting with technology,” the website reads.

Google says Soli's heightened frequency band and power level is consistent with European Telecommunications Standards Institute guidance. Increasing the frequency will improve the tech's accuracy and range of applications. Currently, the project focuses on the virtual control of devices, and the Soli chip can be embedded in wearables, phones, computers, cars and IoT devices. 

In the future, there is potential for the tech to support those with mobility, speech and tactile impairments. As Google's ATAP team says: "Soli has no moving parts, it fits onto a chip and consumes little energy. It is not affected by light conditions and it works through most materials. Just imagine the possibilities..."